Doug Flutie: Auburn's Chris Davis created lifelong memory in Ir - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Doug Flutie: Auburn's Chris Davis created lifelong memory in Iron Bowl

Posted: Updated:
Chris Davis ran into the end zone and etched his name in college football lore. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) Chris Davis ran into the end zone and etched his name in college football lore. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Chris Davis ran into the end zone and etched his name in college football lore.

Doug Flutie welcomes him to the club.

No. 3 Auburn's Davis turned in one of the most memorable plays of college football history with his 109-yard, last-play return of a missed field goal to beat No. 4 Alabama on Saturday. That comes with being long identified for a single play, like Hail Flutie.

"There's no doubt that he'll always be remembered," said Flutie, the 1984 Heisman Trophy winner who went on to play in the CFL and NFL. "I think the majority of the country are going to remember the great return in the Iron Bowl. I think people in Alabama are going to remember Chris Davis the rest of their lives.

"Whether it's an Alabama or Auburn fan, or SEC fans in general, that's what he'll be remembered for. He could win Super Bowls and have a couple of interceptions and in their mind this is the crowning moment he'll always be remembered for."

Flutie knows. Nearly three decades later, he's still best remembered by millions of fans for his Hail Mary pass to Gerard Phelan to lift No. 8 Boston College over No. 12 Miami on Nov. 23, 1984.

But even Flutie believes this one was different.

The Tigers (11-1) earned a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game with the victory and remained in the national title race. It almost certainly ended Alabama's bid for the first a historic third consecutive national championship.

"When you go back and look at my Hail Mary, there was really nothing riding on it," Flutie said. "We had already accepted a Cotton Bowl bid. Miami already had a bowl bid. We were really just playing for fun.

"What made ours so big and what gave it so much attention was it was Thanksgiving weekend. I think it was the most watched game of the year and it was a time when we were the underdogs and everybody loved to hate Miami at that time. All those factors went into how big a deal was made out of that one."

This Iron Bowl was the second-most watched game on CBS this season, behind Alabama-Texas A&M.

The Tigers had beaten Georgia on a deflected Hail Mary two weeks before the Iron Bowl. Davis, a cornerback and return man, then trumped Ricardo Louis's catch in one of the biggest Auburn-Alabama games ever.

He was already one of the Tigers' top defenders and the leading tackler. Davis had also scored on an 85-yard punt return against Tennessee.

Nice highlights, to be sure. But nothing compared to what was to come.

Davis, who was not made available for interviews this week, posted on Twitter Monday that he received a standing ovation in his geology class. He'd better get used to the extra attention.

Flutie said people still bring up Hail Flutie "well over once a day" on average. It's a frequent icebreaker for people when they first meet him, and he tries to be gracious about it.

His advice to Davis: Just go with it.

"Don't let it become routine," Flutie said. "Go ahead and enjoy it. What the heck. This is the way I view it is, there's a lot of guys that have had tremendous careers and within a couple of years after they're done they're forgotten about. At least you're going to have that moment that people will remember.

"I won a Heisman and they still remember the Hail Mary over the Heisman."

Flutie said he called Davis' return while watching the Iron Bowl on TV. He routinely saw field goal attempts returned in the CFL because the rules give the offense a point if a miss isn't run out of the end zone

So when officials restored one second to the clock after a T.J. Yeldon run set up Alabama's 57-yard try, Flutie had an idea of what was coming.

"As soon as they put one second back on the clock, I turned to my wife and I said, 'They're going to try a really long field goal and this guy's going to return it for a touchdown," Flutie said.

Still, there was nothing routine about Davis' effort. It was only the fourth time a 100-plus yard return has happened in college, according to NCAA records.

It also happened in a rivalry where fans remember certain plays for decades.

In the 1972 Iron Bowl, a one-loss Auburn team beat a previously undefeated Alabama team 17-16 when Bill Newton blocked two punts in the final minutes and David Langner returned both for touchdowns.

Langner still hears about it and said the name recognition helped him land jobs during his career. He lives in Tuscaloosa and coincidentally attended the same Birmingham high school as Davis.

"Forty years later, it's every day," Langner said. "Everybody remembers the name. They're like, 'I've heard that name.' It's just been part of my life since that day it happened, and it will be for that kid."

Just on an even grander scale.

Langner figures that will be "the most remembered game in the history of Auburn."

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:29:34 GMT
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.More >>
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.
    More >>
  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-08-31 05:10:40 GMT
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...More >>
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...
    More >>
  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:44 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:44:25 GMT
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in EnsleyMore >>
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in Ensley
    More >>
  • Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:39:56 GMT
    Birmingham, Ala._Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign. The campaign is taking place in September, which is National Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.“A State ...More >>
    Birmingham, Ala._Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign. The campaign is taking place in September, which is National Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.“A State ...More >>
  • Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:11:07 GMT
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.More >>
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.
    More >>
  • Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:26:09 GMT
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.More >>
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.
    More >>
  • Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:48:58 GMT
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
  • City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:14:16 GMT
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.More >>
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.
    More >>
  • Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:32:55 GMT
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
  • Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:29:44 GMT

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>